The Atlas of New Librarianship Online

Overview Free Download Expanding the Atlas Related

Now Freely Available via Creative Commons (so download it, translate it, study from it…go nuts!)

The Atlas of New Librarianship
The Atlas of New Librarianship

The book that has begun conversations about librarianship and the mission of libraries around the globe is now available for free online (you can still buy the print copy) via a Creative Commons license.

This page acts a central place on the net to learn about the Atlas and Lankes’ knowledge approach to librarianship.


Libraries have existed for millennia, but today the library field is searching for solid footing in an increasingly fragmented (and increasingly digital) information environment. What is librarianship when it is unmoored from cataloging, books, buildings, and committees? In The Atlas of New Librarianship, R. David Lankes offers a guide to this new landscape for practitioners. He describes a new librarianship based not on books and artifacts but on knowledge and learning; and he suggests a new mission for librarians: to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities.

The vision for a new librarianship must go beyond finding library-related uses for information technology and the Internet; it must provide a durable foundation for the field. Lankes recasts librarianship and library practice using the fundamental concept that knowledge is created though conversation. New librarians approach their work as facilitators of conversation; they seek to enrich, capture, store, and disseminate the conversations of their communities.

To help librarians navigate this new terrain, Lankes offers a map, a visual representation of the field that can guide explorations of it; more than 140 Agreements, statements about librarianship that range from relevant theories to examples of practice; and Threads, arrangements of Agreements to explain key ideas, covering such topics as conceptual foundations and skills and . Agreement Supplements at the end of the book offer expanded discussions. Although it touches on theory as well as practice, theAtlas is meant to be a tool: textbook, conversation guide, platform for social networking, and call to action.

Atlas Intro Head Shot from R. David Lankes.

Buy the Atlas [ MIT Press | Amazon ]

Download the Atlas

I am so excited that working with the great folks at MIT Press, we are making the Atlas of New Librarianship available online for free under a Creative Commons License (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International). The physical book will still available through MIT Press.

Since the Atlas was first published in 2011 it has won the 2012 ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Award for the Best Book in Library Literature, been adopted as a text book, and generated numerous conversations (and let’s be honest, arguments) around the world.

The Atlas was the first in a loose trilogy of books focused on the role of librarians and libraries in communities and centered on knowledge. Expect More was written for supporters of libraries from board members to provosts to community members. The New Librarianship Field Guide, also published by MIT Press, was written as a text book for library students and people looking for a more linear introduction to New Librarianship.

We hope by making the Atlas free online we can expand the conversation on the value and future of the profession internationally.

Download PDF (233.8 mb)

Download ePub (126.2 mb)

Full record in the Texas ScholarWorks at the University of Texas at Austin

Expanding the Atlas

Part of the reason to release the Atlas via Creative Commons is to expand the work and its impact. We hope to support translation efforts, and link to related initiatives. The following indexes were added after publications:

Contributors Index
Names Index
Thread Web Citations



Using the Atlas in a class, professional development, or project? Let me know.

New Librarianship Master Class Archive: A MOOC organized around the Atlas offered in 2013. Plenty of video lectures on key concepts in librarianship.

Expect More: Written for those who support libraries, Expect More is free to download. It provides an argument for the importance of all types of libraries and the librarians who build and mange them.

New Librarianship Field Guide: A textbook for LIS students published by MIT Press.

Blog Posts and Presentations related to New Librarianship